Some of my recent web projects that I worked on, use a flow engine as the central abstraction in the presentation and/or (more or less the) business layer. Reflecting on my experiences, I can honestly say that I am not a fan of the flow-centric approach. On the contrary even. I see the same symptoms pop up in projects that use flows as central abstraction.
Everything is a flow. You don't just start an application, no, you "enter the main flow" even if it is just to show a menu with a huge dispatcher behind it. I am not against flows as such. Some use cases keep popping up everywhere and need to be included at various points in other use cases (LookupCustomer, ...), but for flow-centric people everything is a flow, even things that are... not flows.
Fragmentation. Flow-based applications tend to have many pieces of logic (actions, commands, fragments of code to prepare the view...) dispersed throughout the code. Mapping in and out of these actions adds overhead, is tedious and bloats the code. Although it is easy to follow the abstract flow, actually figuring out what is happening inside these little (or big) chunks of code is another thing. While every style of application allows people to write bad and inconsistent code, flow-centric applications make it particularly easy to do so.
Config files. Most applications use some XML format to declare flows and actions that accompany state changes. The language in which the application is written (say Java, C#, Ruby, ...) is probably far more richer and expressive than the XML format ever will be. Why bother?
Flows break encapsulation. If you give me a component that has a certain embedded flow logic, then the flow should be part of the component, and should not be an external abstraction. In other words: the flow is part of the component and the component is self-contained. It is a detail. Sure, it can be parameterized and stuff, but a component should "just work". People writing a Swing, GWT, or whatever fat or rich interface application, don't bother with explicit flow abstractions. Why should my web application have one? Give me the flow diagram of GMail.
(Edit) Flows are procedural. If you look at "rich" patterns like MVC with events and everything, flows really pale in comparison. You are using an modern and expressive language to implement your application, right? So you can do better than the rigid "do this, then that, and that, and ..." way from the time when punchcards and assembler were in fashion.
Examples of frameworks that promote flow-centric development are Struts, BTT, Spring Webflow, and JSF. I've also come across homegrown flow engines built on top of ordinary servlets.
This is also an interesting article: http://chillenious.wordpress.com/2006/07/16/on-page-navigation/
Do you (still) think a flow-centric approach for (the front-end of) a web-application is a good idea?</div